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Conserving wildlife habitat, agricultural and forest lands, scenic open space, wetlands, and shorelines for the benefit of our community and as a legacy for future generations.

Guemes Island - Kelly's Point Property

Property Description

Kelly's Point is one of the most beloved beaches and wildlife areas in the region. The property includes iconic Yellow Bluff, a view well-known to the ferries and boats entering and leaving Anacortes. Kelly’s Point provides a long stretch of beach access to islanders and visitors for walks, bird watching, and agate hunting.

Kelly’s Point has ecological qualities that are increasingly rare in Puget Sound. It is one of only a few places left in the Pacific Northwest with mature coastal forest along more than 3,000 feet of undeveloped marine shoreline. The immense cliffs of Yellow Bluff contribute an exceptional amount of sand and gravel to island beaches, including at the Peach Preserve Wildlife Area. Kelly’s Point provides homes and nesting areas for countless bird species, including a colony of Pigeon Guillemots. The upland forest provides roosting, perching, and foraging habitat for a variety of raptors such as the Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Cooper’s Hawk, as well as migratory song birds.

Pigeon Guillemot
ourtesy of Dennis Paulson)

A colony of Guillemots
in holes of the bluff

The naturally eroding
layers of Yellow Bluff

Kelly’s Point is a beloved outdoor geology classroom. Yellow Bluff exposes a remarkable sequence of sediments that span 70,000 years of earth history from before the last ice age to about 13,000 years ago. These sediments underlie much of northern Puget Lowland, but are best exposed right here, at Yellow Bluff. At the base of the bluff, the Whidbey Formation represents one of the best exposures of sediments that accumulated in the lowlands between glaciations. The Whidbey Formation includes sand, gravel, peat, volcanic ash, and organic sediments that separated two ice age glaciations of Puget Sound. The thick peat at the top of the sequence records the Olympic non-glacial interval that lasted from about 60,000 to 16,000 years ago. The peat and organic beds host a number of fossils that record the climate and environment of this period. Overlying the organic beds are glacial deposits that record the passage of the last great ice sheet from Canada between 16,000 and 14,000 years ago. They include sand and gravel deposited by the advancing glacier. This layer is topped by a poorly sorted mixture of sand, silt, and rocks called “till” that is deposited beneath the glacier itself. On top of the entire bluff is sediment that was deposited beneath the glacier as it retreated north and floated in the rising sea. Eventually the land rebounded from the weight of the ice and lifted these sediments above sea level to where they are now.

Visiting Kelly’s Point
The beach at Kelly’s Point is open for quiet, non-motorized enjoyment.

Please keep in mind the following when visiting Kelly’s Point:


  • Access to the beach is down a steep bluff using a pre-existing steep ramp. Use with caution and at your own risk! The access point may not be appropriate at this time for people with physical disabilities or for very young children.
  • Similar to other natural areas, please keep your pet on a leash.
  • Please do not build fires.
  • UAVs or drones, are prohibited.
  • Please note that during high tide, parts of the beach may become inaccessible, making a return trip difficult and hazardous.


How to Get There

Drive north off of the Guemes Island Ferry several hundred feet and then take a left (west) on South Shore Drive. Follow South Shore Drive for approximately 1 mile. At the corner of South Shore Drive and West Shore Drive, there is a parking area with trail access to beach.

Property Info

  • Type: Trust-Owned
  • Location: Guemes Island
  • Acreage: 27 acres
  • Date Added: 2018
  • Please visit this property!

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